Swathi H., a literature student exploring the endless possibilities of language, was born and brought up in Kochi. She lives with her parents, grandmother, sister, and pet fish Flake.
Being the kid who jotted down newly-learned words, the enticing charm of words held her fancy. Soon like every other reader, she was drawn into the world of books. Each book showed her the magic of words to move, inspire and transform; a talent that rests with the writer. Thus began the experiment of stringing together words of her own. Her writing is weaved with threads of reality that often leave you in wonder. When not writing, you can find her at a used bookstore or laughing at her jokes (sometimes both). As long as there is coffee in the cup and a notepad, she is ready to take on the world.
We asked Swathi a few questions to get to know her better. Here’s what she had to say:
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I have been writing since…
The age of 13.
My favorite author(s) and book(s)?
My all time favourites include The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
My journey as a writer:
From the time I learnt words, I jotted down all the words I knew for fun. A dictionary of sorts without the meanings. Pretty useful, right? I felt like Shakespeare adding my biggest word dehydration to the list. Soon, like every other reader, I picked up some books and then some others till there was no coming back. Since then I have been experimenting with stories and poems of my own. There is something powerful about churning thoughts to words and nothing more satisfying than having people relate to it.
Why should we read you?
I do believe that human experience is very similar and yet so different. It is the likeness of our lives that I wish to highlight through my writings. You’re never the only one. The plot is an added bonus that hopefully leaves you with a thought.
My favorite genre to read / write
Personally, I read a lot of dystopian books. It feels incredible to be swallowed into another dimension altogether.
What advice would you give young and aspiring writers?
It is easy to be crippled by self doubt and creative blocks when you begin to write. That’s when it becomes important to understand that you have a unique voice and a story waiting to be realized. There’s nobody who could put it into words the way you do and that power is yours alone. So keep writing, it only gets better from there!
Here’s an excerpt from Swathi’s winning story The gift of aroma that’s now published in Wafting Earthy:
She tucked her hair behind her ear. The wind was playing with the jasmine flowers in her hand. How beautiful a day it would have been if she was just a girl of twelve without a care in the world. She knew normal from the people she saw around her— the ones who bought her flowers. They had smiles on their faces and somebody to give flowers to. Occasionally, they would tell her why they needed the flowers. The teenager in the black shirt wanted roses to give his beloved. He picked the red ones carefully, the ones with tender petals and strong stems. A girl with plaited hair thought that the jasmine flowers would look good on her. A middle-aged man bought marigolds for his wife to wake up to. Isn’t that what life is all about? Thinking of someone and going back to them. Going home. Home. Now’s not a great time to think of home, she thought. She had to sell the jasmine flowers when they were still fresh. It wasn’t Onam season when flowers sold like hot cakes. No, now she had to go to reluctant observers brandishing the flowers. Today was one of the lucky days. The priest of the temple bought a huge strip of her jasmines. She muttered a prayer under her breath and scuttled along. Finally, she could get home before evening.